|26 May 2023|
Quality schooling always has student development as its core focus, and Loreto Normanhurst is no different with its commitment to the holistic development of each student through the innovative Loreto Normanhurst Student Growth Model (LNSGM). However, what is often neglected in the mainstream discourse on schooling is a key factor in reaching student outcomes – teacher development.
Students often find it perplexing to contemplate that their teachers would engage in learning “behind the scenes” of the classroom, but like their students, teachers are constantly challenged to learn and grow in their practice. Teaching practice requires significant adaptability to changing contexts and what teachers did a few years ago, often does not apply today.
The Loreto Normanhurst Strategic Plan 2023 ‘Women for Our Times’ is mindful of this need to continually develop teacher capacity with its aims of developing “staff to grow in their professional practice” and supporting “staff to grow as educational leaders demonstrating high standards of professional practice and strong collegiality within the School.” This focus on professional practice aligns with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, especially Standards 6 (Engage in professional learning) and 7 (Engage professionally with colleagues).
This year, one of the school initiatives introduced to help staff grow their professional capacity has been our Master Teacher Sessions. During these sessions, experienced HSC teachers share elements of their practice with teaching staff. The goal of this initiative is to build what Hattie (2017) calls "Collective Teacher Efficacy" which is defined as “the collective belief of teachers in their ability to positively affect students” and has been identified as the greatest factor influencing student achievement.
Staff across a broad range of subject areas have volunteered their time to be involved in sharing best practice through the Master Teacher Sessions, with the goal of building collective teacher efficacy and providing practical and effective strategies that can act as the foundation teachers need to positively affect student learning. So far, the teachers who have shared their practice during these sessions have been Marie Bugge, Joanne Kachel, Anna-lea Russo, Roslyn Halmy and Alison Franks. Their presentations have been inspirational, motivating, and vital in starting effective dialogue between teachers on best practice.
Darling-Hammond et al. (2017) describe teaching as a “collaborative, not isolated, occupation.” Effective collaboration requires excellent relationships – with colleagues, both within a school and externally, with parents and carers, students and the broader community. The Master Teacher Sessions are one of several initiatives in the professional practice space this year designed to enhance collaboration between colleagues and build these positive relationships. With time and greater understanding of the dedicated process teachers regularly engage in to improve their practice, we hope the broader Loreto Normanhurst community will continue to give energy and collaborative support to this teacher growth process knowing it to be a crucial factor in school success.
Year 10 have been expanding their learning and knowledge using the principles of Deep Learning through various experienc… More...
Year 10 have been expanding their learning and knowledge using the principles of Deep Learning through various experiences. More...